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NewsBook:  Missouri Government News for the Week of March 18, 2013

Missouri's auditor criticized state House and Senate members for their handling of the state's open records laws in an audit released Friday.

In the audit, State Auditor Tom Schweich said state lawmakers from both chambers have been exempt from the Sunshine Law, even while they work on legislation to tighten it for other state agencies.

"It is a double standard for the legislature to impose additional requirements on other public governmental bodies while enjoying a blanket exemption from the Sunshine Law," the audit states.

While Schweich noted that state law is "ambiguous" in regards to individual lawmakers being subject to the Sunshine Law, he recommended that each chamber amend the law so that it applies to individual members.

In their responses to the audit, both the House and Senate asserted that individual members were exempt from the open records law.

The audit also states that each chamber does not have proper procedures in place to retain emails. Even with these criticisms, the House and Senate each received "good" ratings, which is the second highest in rating available from the auditor's office.

The Missouri Department of Transportation announced Thursday that Department Director Kevin Keith is taking a medical leave of absence and plans to resign later this year.

Keith has worked in the department for more than 25 years and was appointed its director in 2010. He will step down from his post immediately and will retire on July 1. The medical reason behind Keith's departure was not disclosed.

The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission, which oversees the department, will be responsible for appointing a new director. MoDOT's chief engineer, Dave Nichols, will serve as the department's interim director for at least one year while the commission decides on how to proceed with appointing a new director.

Nichols has served with department since 1984 and was appointed its chief engineer in 2011.

Gov. Jay Nixon, legislators and Missouri businesses traveled overseas to Taiwan and Seoul, South Korea this week.

Nixon announced today that the trip resulted in trade agreements to sell a total of $1.9 billion in Missouri goods to Korean and Taiwanese consumers. In the last two years, Missouri has sold $28 billion in local-made goods around the world. Gov. Nixon signed similar trade agreements with China in October 2011 and Brazil in April 2012.

"It's simple, when we sell more Missouri products overseas, we create more jobs for workers at home," he said.

Of the $1.9 billion, $1.2 billion resulted from agreements signed with trade organizations in Seoul. A partnership between Taiwanese trade organizations and the Missouri Department of Agriculture was reached in what Nixon called a "strong, prosperous democratic ally in this region."

Gov. Nixon said this trip as an opportunity to jump on the opportunity offered from the Korea and United States trade agreement that the federal government signed about a year ago. The three business areas that will benefit most from the trade agreements are argiculture, manufacturing, and biotech goods.

House Speaker Tim Jones has asked Missouri's attorney general to appeal a federal court ruling that struck down a law exempting moral objectors from providing certain forms of birth control.

Jones, R-Eureka, asked Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster to appeal the decision in a letter Wednesday. Jonessaid the law is necessary to protect Missourians from federal laws that "would essentially force religious institutions to provide insurance coverage for procedures...which violate their core beliefs."

The state General Assembly passed the law last session to combat the federal health care law. Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed the law, but the Republican-led legislature overturned the veto. The state law exempted health care providers, such as employers and insurers, from providing mandatory insurance coverage for contraception, abortion and sterilization due to religious or moral objections.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Audrey Fleissig issued a ruling striking down the law, citing a U.S. Constitutional provision that declares federal laws supersede competing state laws. In the opinion Fleissig said the state law is “pre-empted” by the federal health care law, but refrained from discussing the merits of either law.

The Associated Press reported that Nanci Gonder, a spokeswoman for the attorney general's office, said Wednesday that the attorney general had not yet decided whether to appeal the ruling.

So far this session, Republicans have defeated two Medicaid expansion bills pushed by Democratic lawmakers in committee. House Minority Floor Leader, Jake Hummel, D-St. Louis City, sponsored a bill that would expand Medicaid eligibility coverage to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. This expansion would have put Missouri's Medicaid program in accordance with the federal health care law. Hummel's bill, however, was killed in the House Government Oversight and Accountability committee.

A similar bill, sponsored by Sen. Paul LeVota, D-Independence was defeated in the Senate Appropriations Committee by a vote of 8-3 along party lines. Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis City, is sponsoring similar legislation but her bill has yet to be heard in committee.

Even though Republicans have defeated Democratic-backed measures twice so far, one Republican is sponsoring legislation that would address eligibility for the state's Medicaid program. Rep. Jay Barnes' bill would transform the Medicaid systems as well as expand it.

Barnes' bill would cut a large number of children from the program and expand Medicaid eligibility, but not to the extent set by the federal law. His bill would also offer an annual cash incentive to encourage Medicaid recipients to keep their health care costs low.

Gov. Jay Nixon has been traveling around the state touting the importance of Medicaid expansion. Nixon has said the expansion would provide health care to an additional 300,000 people and add 24,000 jobs.

Whichever way Missouri lawmakers choose to address the state's Medicaid program, they are wading into an already complicated system. Missouri has had a Medicaid program since 1965 when it was enacted through an amendment to the Social Security Act. The program was designed to offer long-term care to low income citizens of the state.

Citizens near historically contaminated creek are outraged after a study showed the area does not have more cases of related cancer.

The creek, located in the Florissant area of St. Louis, suffered contamination from nuclear waste sites in the 1960s and 70s.

Many residents raised concern that this contamination led to a higher number of cancer cases in the area, but a report from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services found the area does not have any higher rates of related cancers than other parts of Missouri.

The report includes data from the Missouri Cancer Registry which experts then analyzed, none of which were available for an interview. But, this data only includes cases from people who lived in the area between the years of 1996 and 2004.

Some residents are angry the data doesn’t include those who lived in the area and moved away, because their cancer diagnoses are logged in another state and were not used in this study.

“It’s just upsetting that it keeps being reported like this when it’s not accurate,” said Jennifer Smith, a woman who lived near the creek in the 80s and 90s but then moved to Las Vegas where she was diagnosed with leukemia. Leukemia is one of the cancers related to nuclear contamination.

Department spokeswoman Gena Terlizzi said they did not include those who moved away and were diagnosed because they would have to include everyone who lived in the area.

“I think that you can probably appreciate the limitation that that implies,” Terlizzi said.

House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, said today that the Missouri House will act quickly to address concerns that the Department of Revenue is violating the privacy and Second Amendment rights of Missourians.

Jones is working with Rep. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville, to sponsor a bill that would eliminate concealed carry endorsements and replace them with concealed carry permits.

This legislation's ultimate plan is to ensure Missourians are able to receive their concealed carry permits without fear their information is being shared with out-of-state parties.

Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich announced Tuesday that eligibility problems continue to plague the state's welfare programs. Schweich said Missouri's Temporary Assistance For Needy Families and Medicaid programs in particular are not adequately determining Missourians' eligibility.

These findings come after Schweich's office completed the annual Statewide Single Audit, which looks at how federal funds were used during the past year's budget. The audit specifically looked at how state agencies spent $12.7 billion in federal funds. Schweich raised red flags on $68 million of these funds used by various state departments.

Schweich said there's a risk with the welfare programs of needy families and elderly Missourians not receiving the money they deserve because ineligible citizens are using up the funds.

The audit also found widespread problems with the state compensating childcare providers. Schweich said the Department of Social Services paid nearly $300,000 to providers who billed the state for children not under their care.

In the wake of Missouri's fluctuating temperatures, the Transportation Department vows to speed up the repair of an increased number of potholes.

MoDOT spokesperson Holly Dentner said the warm weather after last month's snowstorms eroded Missouri roads which increased the number of potholes.

Dentner the St. Louis area pledged to fix potholes in less than 24-hours after first reported.

Other areas in the state did not pledge the 24-hour guarantee, but Dentner said the department will work harder to fix them faster.

Dentner said the repairs will not incur any extra costs.

Last Week

A measure that would prevent unions from deducting union dues from employee paychecks passed the Senate Thursday in a party-line vote.

Democrats filibustered the bill for eight hours Monday night and then compromised on an amendment that would only allow paycheck deductions with the annual consent of the employee.

Sen. Paul Levota, D-Independence, said the newer version is not an improvement.

"It's still unnecessary," Levota said. "It's purely politics. It's purely a waste of time before this body to be dealing with this issue."

But Republicans said the bill is not an attack on employees, but rather a way to restore their freedom.

House Budget Committee Chairman Rick Stream speaks to reporters about expanding state funding for veterans education

Some Missouri House members are pushing create an tuition fund that would help Missouri National Guard members continue their education.

State Rep. Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, chairman of the House budget committee, announced the creation of a new education fund in the proposed state budget for Missouri National Guard members due to recent federal budget cuts.

Stream said nearly 1,400 members of the Missouri National guard are affected by the suspension of the federal assistance tuition.

He said these student soldiers are in need of this educational funding.

"For many of them who sacrifice so much to serve our state and country, this is the only way for them to complete a college education," Stream said. 

Stream is working with Rep. Jeff Grisamore of Lee's Summit to help restore federal funding for military tuition assistance.



The Missouri Senate approved a measure Thursday that would let voters decide whether to raise the state sales tax by one cent to fix the state's roads.

Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, sponsored the bill. He said if Missourians can see the benefits the tax will have on the economy then they will approve of it.

But voters haven't approved a tax increase in over 25 years. Just last November, Missouri struck down a tobacco tax that would have gone toward education.

"I think people thought the cigarette tax was too much and too aggressive," Kehoe said. "I'm not trying to say that transportation is more important than education but each one of these issues has to stand on its own and I think this has a pretty good chance of standing on its own."

The proposal now moves to the House.

Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey and House Speaker Tim Jones speak to reporters

Leaders from the Missouri House and Senate held a press conference to discuss the progress in both chambers over the 2013 legislative session on Thursday.

Assistant House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty, D-Kansas City, said no legislation this session has created jobs for Missourians.

"Instead, what we have seen is infrigement on voter's rights, suppression of wages for the middle class, and undermining worker's rights," McCann Beatty said.

Republican leaders at the state Capitol are more optimistic about how they have met legislative goals so far this session.

House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, said he thinks the House and Senate have been working together well and have remained united on all of their priorities.

In the House, two key priorities including a benevelont tax credit extension and amateur sporting events tax credit bill have been sent to the governor's desk this week.

Senate President Pro Tem Tim Dempsey, R-St. Charles, said his chamber has moved forward on nine major priority bills in 2013. The legislation also includes incentives for amateur sporting events, initiatives for belevolent taxes, and a strengthened definition of unemployment law.



People who owe thousands of dollars in back taxes to Missouri would get a break from any hefty penalties, under legislation endorsed Thursday by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The measure would create an "amnesty" program where people who had unpaid taxes at the end of last year would be excused from all penalties and interest on those taxes if they pay what they originally owed by October of this year.

State revenue officials estimate that the program could bring the state as much as $75 million for the coming fiscal year.

The measure passed the House last month with broad bipartisan support in a 150-2 vote.

The Senate committee took the unusual step of voting on the bill on the same day it heard public testimony. Senators did add an amendment about the tax compliance of people in the amnesty program, so the measure will have to go back to the House for one more vote if it is approved by the full Senate.

The idea of tax amnesty has been floated in recent years as lawmakers have worked to close gaping holes in the state budget, but the proposals haven't reached the governor's desk.

The House Budget Committee passed its version of the budget Wednesday, which the full chamber will debate when lawmakers return from their week-long spring break.

House Budget Committee chairman Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, proposed a "mega-amendment," which shifted around nearly $23 million in spending. The committee agreed to pull $750,000 from higher education institutions to provide scholarships for veterans. Stream said it was a necessary move after the U.S. Department of Defense stopped accepting applications for tuition assistance after the federal sequester took effect.

Rep. Jeff Grisamore, R-Lee's Summit, said the state owes veterans a solution.

"We wanna step up and assist and off-set that loss so that we can insure that our student soldiers continue to have the funding they need to further their higher education," Grisamore said.

Republicans in the committee rejected two amendments in party line votes that would have expanded Medicaid as prescribed in the Affordable Care Act.

Rep. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, said Missouri would struggle to fund its budget priorities in 2020 when the state would be expected to pay for 10 percent of the expansion.

"It's still my opinion that we're going to have to pillage education funding to make this work," Rowden said.

The Missouri Senate approved a proposed constitutional amendment Wednesday that would ask voters if the state sales tax should be increased by one cent over ten years in order to fund the state's transportation system.

If approved by voters, revenue from the tax increase would be set aside for Missouri's transportation system, providing money for the maintenance and repair of roads, bridges and other transportation projects.

The measure's sponsor, Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, said the bill would provide flexibility for counties looking to improve their transportation needs.

Sen Joseph Keavney, D-St. Louis City, said he is worried that too much money would go to building roads and bridges.

Keavney said the Senate needs to "make sure we allocate some of these funds to the not so glorious things that need to be done: the light rail, the bike paths, the walking paths."

The proposed amendment still needs another affirmative vote in the Senate before moving on to the House.

After 64 days in session, state lawmakers sent the first two bills of the session to the governor's desk all within just one day.

The first bill would provide tax credits for amateur sporting events while the second would award tax credits for charitable causes.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Greene County, would extend the sunset or expiration date on a number of so-called benevolent tax credits. The most controversial part of the bill was the exclusion of incentives to adopt a child based on race.

Sen. John Lamping, R-St. Louis County, is the father to an adopted-Chinese daughter. He said he was disappointed in the removal of those incentives because most racial adoptions are done in state, not abroad.

"The reality is that most African-American adoptions are coming out of child services' adoptions," Lamping said.

Despite the rejection of another bill that would expand Medicaid in the state, Democratic lawmakers will continue to push for expansion.

Sen. Paul LeVota, D-Independence, presented a Medicaid expansion bill to the Senate Appropriations committee on Wednesday. Levota said Medicaid expansion is the most important issue facing the General Assembly. He said it is not a political decision, but an economic one.

LeVota said expansion would "help Missouri grow as a state."

Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, said he believes the appropriate measure would be to "have the federal government to refund the DSH payments and provide funding to the state of Missouri and block state funding so each state can leverage its own individual assets for the best providing care." He said he believes this would provide more people with coverage and would cost less.

The bill was defeated by an 8-3 vote.

Public works projects would pay a lower wage under a bill passed by the House Wednesday.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Warren Love, R-Osceola, would change the way the Department of Labor calculates the prevailing wage for most public construction projects. Instead of basing the wage for each occupation on voluntary surveys completed by contractors in each county, the wage would be determined by a statewide weekly average.

Love said the lower wage would allow more school and other local construction projects to be undertaken, thereby stimulating the economy.

“It’s going to be a pay stimulation and a job stimulation,” Love said. “To me, that’s a plus.”

Opponents argued that the lower wage would hurt workers and, rather than lowering costs for construction projects, increase profits for contractors.

“I’m concerned that with this bill, wages will continue to decline,” said Rep. Bill Otto, D-St. Louis County.

The bill passed the House 91-65 and will now go to the Senate.

The first bill to reach Gov. Jay Nixon’s desk will be a tax incentive for amateur sporting events.

The House passed the bill, which originated in the Senate, on Wednesday. It would give sports organizations, such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association, money back on admission tickets sold for an event in the state.

Supporters said the bill would attract more events and boost the states economy.

Under the bill, the amount of tax credits given to sporting organizations would be capped at $3 million annually. Additionally, the bill includes a 50 percent tax credit for donations to committees working to attract sporting events to the state.

The bill passed the House 127-29. The governor has 15 days to sign or veto the bill before it becomes law by default.

The House also passed a bill that would require workers to annually reauthorize automatic paycheck deductions by unions for political purposes. The bill passed 90-65 and will now go to the Senate.

Directors from the Department of Revenue appeared in front of a Senate committee Wednesday to explain why Missourians identification is being sent to a statewide database.

Deputy Director John Mollenkamp told the Senate Appropriations Committee the department sends the information to a database through a vendor, MorphoTrust USA, which then verifies the information to ensure deterrence from fraud.

Mollenkamp said the data is deleted after being verified and sent out, but he added that there is no written verification that the data has been deleted. Mollenkamp also said there is a grant from the Department of Homeland Security allowing the Department of Revenue to pay for computer programming for comparing photographs through a photo validation system.

Committee chairman Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, said he has been told three different stories about why the Department of Homeland Security gave a grant to the Revenue Department: one claiming the grant had nothing to do with the verification process and the other claiming the grant was used to purchase hole punchers worth more than $100.

Schaefer also compared the verification system to a Big Brother scenario.

"So literally you are creating an Orwellian file on every single file of every Missourian on the biometrics of their face," Schaefer said while speaking to Mollenkamp.

Schaefer brought up the issue for discussion on the Senate floor later that day, still furious.

"This is the third time I've been lied to in two weeks," Schaefer said.

The Missouri House gave first-round approval Tuesday to a bill that would require labor unions to get consent from workers to take fees from their paychecks for political contributions.

Earlier this week in the Senate, lawmakers gave preliminary approval to similar legislation that would require workers to sign off on their employers taking any funds from their paychecks.

Rep. Steve Webb, D-St. Louis County, said the intent of the bill is to attack labor unions.

Sponsoring Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Springfield, said his proposal is aimed at protecting individual workers.

"Is that because those employers donate to the people you don't want them to donate to?" Webb said.

The Senate passed a bill Tuesday night that would cut income taxes for Missouri residents and businesses by three-quarters of a percentage point and increase the sales tax by one-half cent over the next five years.

The bill would cost the state between $477 million and $670 million each year, according to legislative staff estimates.

Republicans in favor of the proposal say it's the biggest tax change in Missouri in decades.

They also say the lower tax rates will help the economy.

"It's going to drive our economy to succeed. We're going to drive more revenue to the bottom line of the budget," said bill sponsor Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee's Summit.

Democrats say the measure would unfairly shift the tax burden onto the state's poor families.

The Senate passed the measure with a 23-11 vote.

Lawmakers in the state Capitol have been pushing to raise the state sales tax to pay for state road projects, but Senators said Tuesday that they should have control of how the money is spent.

A proposed constitutional amendment sponsored by Sen. Mike Kehoe would raise the state sales tax by one percent for 10 years to pay for road projects.

But the state Highway Commission would ultimately decide which projects get funded. And some Republicans, like Senator Kurt Schaefer, now say they want some control over which projects get paid for.

But Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, said that giving lawmakers more control would send the money to projects with the strongest political connections--not the greatest benefit for the state.

"I would have nightmares over elected officials prioritizing our transportation projects and I think Missourians would as well," he said.

A bill that Democrats have said discriminates against women seeking medical treatment passed out of the Missouri House Tuesday.

The measure would allow doctors and nurses to refuse to perform medical procedures that violate their moral or religious beliefs.

House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, said his bill provides the necessary protection in emergency situations.

"If you have a conscience that stands for life, and the beliefs and rights for the worker, vote for this bill," Jones said.

The bill moved to the Senate on a 116-41 vote.

The House's Small Business Committee gave its approval to a proposal Tuesday that would have Missouri car buyers pay their sales tax based on where they live, and not where they bought the car.

The Missouri Supreme Court struck down a similar system last year for being unconstitutional.

But Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, said the system would help local governments get vital tax dollars and attract more buyers back to dealerships in cities near the state's border.

"They need this to be able to play on a level playing field," Kehoe said. "Our bordering states are taking this business out of Missouri. As those businesses move out of Missouri, our jobs will follow."

The bill has already passed the Senate, and will now be heard in the House. But if the House keeps the change made Tuesday, the bill will have to go back to the Senate for yet another vote.

New details emerged today in a Stoddard County court case that alleges the license office sent confidential information to a third party company and the federal government.

This all began when Republican Lt. Governor Peter Kinder recently alerted the public to this process.

The plaintiff's attorney in the Stoddard County lawsuit, Russell Oliver, said this practice violates state statute.

"We are a state and a nation of laws. But we are also not going to collect and retain this personal and private information of our citizens. Those laws are supposed to mean something, and are supposed to be followed."

The judge in Stoddard County said this license office can't collect this private information and send it to the federal government.

The temporary order is still in place, but the judge in the case says he wants more information from both sides before a permanent decision is made.

The election for the new pope of the Catholic Church is to start Tuesday, March 12, in the Vatican. Some politicians in the Missouri State Capitol say that society and the Catholic Church are prepared for a non-European pope.

Rep. Jacob Hummel, D-St. Louis, said he understands the politics behind not electing a pope from America and Sen. Scott T. Rupp, R-Wentzville, thinks that the world is not ready yet for an American pope.

Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon said in a press release Monday that a proposed tax reform in the state Senate would hurt "seniors, families and veterans" the most.

The more than 300 page bill, sponsored by Sen. Will Kraus, R-Jackson County, calls for a one-half percent sales tax increase and a lower income tax rate for citizens and corporations.

Senate Majority Leader Ron Richard said he doesn't think the bill hurts people like the governor believes.

"Give them a tax break?" Richard, R-Joplin, asked. "I don't see how that fits, but everyone is entitled to an opinion, I guess."

Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis County, said she wants to see dramatic changes in the bill before in becomes law.

"With what we have so far, that bill needs to go in the trash can," Nasheed said. "It's not good for the state. It's not even worth the inc used for the paper it's on."

Senate Democrats launched a late night filibuster Monday against Sen. Dan Brown's, R-Rolla, bill to prohibit unions from deducting union dues from employee's paychecks.

Sen. Ryan McKenna, D-Jefferson County, said the ultimate goal of the bill is to cripple unions, rather than give employees more freedom. 

"I think the goal, I guess, is to make it so (unions) don't have the power to be effective," McKenna said.

Brown said he is trying to give workers more freedom.

"I just think people should have the ability to choose where their money goes," Brown said.

Democrats said the filibuster was not just frivolous speech.

"We've had interesting topics like our kids," said Sen. Paul Levota, D-Independence, "But it's important for us to take a stand and show just how ridiculous this bill is."

After the filibuster had lasted eight hours, senators agreed to an amendment that only allowed these paycheck deductions with the annual consent of the employee early Tuesday morning.

Minority Floor Leader Jolie Justus said she still thinks the bill erodes the power of unions, but being in the deep minority forced her to compromise.

"Probably no one in here is completely satisfied," Brown said.

The bill did remove language that would have allowed union members to choose which political candidate or group to contribute their dues to. The Democrats said it is illegal under current law for unions dues to go toward political candidates anyway.

The Missouri House gave preliminary approval to a health bill the House Speaker said comes from God.

Rep. Tim Jones, R-Eureka, said his legislation will allow health workers to opt-out of performing procedures that violate their religious, moral or ethical beliefs.

The bill received heavy opposition from some Democrats, who argued the bill expands the state's refusal clause and may limit access to reproductive care in emergencies. Current state law allows providers to refrain from performing abortions that conflict with personal convictions.

Rep. Stacey Newman, D-St. Louis County, said "this bill discriminates against women. This bill does not come from God, this bill comes from a legislator."

However, Jones said Democrats were not basing debate on fact. The legislation would require health workers to provide "reasonable notice" of their decisions and the bill would prohibit workers from refusing care when it is needed to save a life.

Those with developmental disabilities waiting for services may get in-home treatment if state lawmakers approve additional funding to eliminate the wait list.

The House Budget Committee heard the committee substitute Monday which would add $10.7 million more than the governor’s budget proposal to the Department of Mental Health’s Division of Developmental Disabilities.

The money would provide care to the 1,695 individuals on the wait list.

Jeff Grosvenor, from the office of the director of the Division of Developmental Disabilities, said the funds would go directly to services and would not be used to hire any additional staff.

“This money will go to serve people who are currently on the wait list,” Grosvenor said. “It would all be spent with contract providers to serve those people and meet their needs in the community.”

The majority of the additional funding needed to eliminate the wait list would come from federal dollars, with $3.8 million of the state's general revenue fund also contributing.

In addition to reviewing the budget for the Department of Mental Health, the committee also looked at the budgets for the Departments of Economic Development, Health and Senior Services, and Labor and Industrial Relations.

The committee took no action on the budget bills.

State lawmakers raised concerns that information gathered for a new licensing system would be sent to private data companies and federal databases.

The Central Issuance licensing system would replace the current over-the-counter system by sending scanned personal documents to a printer in a different location.

Members of the House Government Oversight and Accountability Committee questioned Deputy Director John Mollenkamp of the Department of Revenue on the process behind Central Issuance in a hearing Monday.

"We're going to try to set rumors aside," said Committee Chairman Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City.

The Department of Revenue testified that personally identifiable documents scanned by clerks would not be transmitted to vendors other than the printer. The scanned documents would not be sent to a federal database either.

Mollenkamp said private information would be destroyed after a license was created, although the ability to verify this destruction was called into question.